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Touched by an angel :)

Cairo Travel Blog

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The Mosque at the Saladin Citadel
Ok, rant aside, let me come back to my Cairo exploration. So after the museum, I headed to the Citadel.

The Saladin Citadel of Cairo, constructed by the ruler Salah-al Din, is this massive fort which now houses a dozen museums.. and of course, the mosque of Mohammed Ali. Again, I didn’t know much about this stop, but it was on everyone’s must-see list, and so see it I did!

The Citadel in itself was nothing spectacular. Yes, it had amazing views of the city… In fact, from one point you could see the Pyramids of Giza in the horizon! That really was spectacular. And yes, I am sure that the citadel served its purpose in the past and protected the city.
Loved this view
But hey, that’s what all citadels do!! :D

What made this one so gorgeous was the mosque. It was just fabulous. Something about its silver domes and high towers just catches the eye and mesmerizes! (Check out the picture on Wikipedia.. much better than mine.. although mine are not bad either, I think!)

And what made it most interesting and memorable for me was the little experience that I had there :)
There was this group of school girls that was having a day out from school or something like that.. And they were having a gala time trying to converse with the tourists in the place. Our paths happened to cross, the groups and mine, as I was making my exit of the Citadel. One of the bolder ones from the group mustered enough courage to approach me, ask me my name, and then dash away before I could even reply.
I smiled at her and waved.. and continued towards the exit. Encouraged by their friend’s bold step, some others from the group also began to edge towards me, ask me my name, and then run away… as if asking the question was the important part.. the answer completely insignificant!

I decided to give these girls something to chew on. And so I walked up to them, introduced myself and asked them what their names were! For a moment, no one knew how to strike back… and then one of the younger ones came and held my hand and told me her name. And that broke the ice. Soon they were firing all the English they could gather at me! What is your name.. where are you from.. come and see the mosque with us!!! And so, they took me around the mosque… giggling… filled with curiosity about me and everything I was carrying on me.
The angels who decided to play tour guide for me!
Soon they discovered my camera and asked me to take pictures of them! And the little angels posed like models … flashing their innocent smiles at me.. and then demanding that I show them the capture. Thrilled with the pictures, they thanked me, and parted with a “Welcome to Egypt!”

Religion, caste, creed, race, region – no bar… The innocence of a child is something so precious and so touching..

After the Citadel and the mosque, I decided to head towards Coptic Cairo.. also known as Old Cairo. The story (fact, actually!) goes that Christianity came to Egypt a long long time before the state adopted Islam as its official religion. And so, old Cairo is littered with Churches of the days past.. There is a strong Greek flavor to the churches and the graveyards.
And wanted nothing in return but for me to capture their smiles on my camera
I didn’t really know of this part of Egypt’s heritage.. and so, when I stumbled upon a graveyard that looked straight out of an ancient Greek movie, I was taken aback! And then I learnt of the Coptic era and the mark it left on Egypt. Funny how little I actually knew of this country before I came here. Egypt, to the rest of the world, is home to the Pyramids and hieroglyphics and mummies!.. and that’s about it. Atleast, that’s what I had on my mind when I came to Egypt. But during the course of my stay here I have come to see that there is so much more to Egypt..

Coptic Cairo’s streets and churches take you right back to the early days of Christianity.. to the time when this new religion was finding its roots.. establishing its beliefs.. establishing itself.
. To add to the whole feeling, there even is a synagogue right in the midst of all those ancient churches! But my favorite part was the cemetery that I stumbled upon. I really have never seen such a magnificent burial ground. With tomb stones carved and decorated.. statues and pillars adorning every corner.. it was just beautiful..

I was so lost in all that beauty that before I knew it, it was closing time and I was ushered out of there!

All in all, a day well spent!! I had seen about all that I had wanted to see in Cairo. And now, it was time to head down south! Or, upstream… to Upper Egypt, as they call it..
anupa_rk says:
Well, when I was a kid we stayed in very small towns in India that were not on the tourist map :) And by the time I moved to a big city I was too grown up to want to say hi to travelers! Thats something I envy children for. They are so carefree and laid back. We grown ups are just too stuck up sometimes!!
Posted on: May 08, 2010
nomaden says:
Didn't you have the urge to come up w/ a foreigner to say hi or ask for their names when you were younger? In grade school I always wanted to come up to a tourist to know their names & the countries they came from but each time my shyness got the better of me.. Even now, I still have the same hesitation.. but last month however, I struck a conversation with the person sitting next to me in the hostel in REP {w/o hesitation whatsoever}. I praised myself for it & I couldn't stop talking about it for a week after I got back! :) I salute people who takes time to smile back or say something to curious kids. :D
Posted on: May 08, 2010
anupa_rk says:
It really was, you know! Children just have a way of making everything seem so simple and happy!
Posted on: May 03, 2010
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The Mosque at the Saladin Citadel
The Mosque at the Saladin Citadel
Loved this view
Loved this view
The angels who decided to play tou…
The angels who decided to play to…
And wanted nothing in return but f…
And wanted nothing in return but …
with Cairo as the backdrop!
with Cairo as the backdrop!
No wonder its called the city of m…
No wonder its called the city of …
Can you see the Pyramids in the ho…
Can you see the Pyramids in the h…
Pretty interiors :D
Pretty interiors :D
The Citadel grounds
The Citadel grounds
Next stop - the ancient churches o…
Next stop - the ancient churches …
The famous hanging church
The famous hanging church
Check out that Coptic script
Check out that Coptic script
It looks Greek to me! ;)
It looks Greek to me! ;)
The graveyard that had me mesmeris…
The graveyard that had me mesmeri…
And these two wanted a picture wit…
And these two wanted a picture wi…
Cairo
photo by: vulindlela